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Rinus VeeKay en route to Saturday's fastest qualifying lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Al Steinberg photo)

VeeKay Is Fastest As Rain Hits Indy

INDIANAPOLIS — Heavy rain and lightning brought an early end to Saturday’s first day of qualifications for the 106th Indianapolis 500.

The remaining of the sessions were called official at 4:50 p.m. ET, one hour early after the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway was soaked for rain.

Third-year NTT IndyCar Series driver Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing is the fastest provisional qualifier and the Fast 12 that will determine Sunday’s pole and first four rows have been set.

Also, positions 13-33 have been locked into the starting lineup for the May 29 Indianapolis 500.

Click here for the official results.

VeeKay, the 21-year-old driver from The Netherlands, ran a four-lap average of 233.655 mph in the No. 21 BitNile Bitcoin Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing Saturday morning.

That is the third fastest qualifying speed in Indianapolis 500 history. The only two faster are Arie Luyendyk’s record speed of 236.986 mph four-lap average in 1996 and Scott Brayton’s four-lap average of 233.718 mph, also in 1996.

It knocked Tony Stewart’s four-lap average of 233.100 mph, also in 1996, out of third place.

VeeKay’s speed also knocked 22-year-old Pato O’Ward of Monterey, Mexico off the top of the scoring pylon.

 O’Ward ran a four-lap average of 233.037 mph in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. His teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, is third at 232.775 mph.

Juan Pablo Montoya was not allowed to qualify on the first run because his car failed technical inspection. He did make a four-lap attempt after all drivers made their one qualification attempt.

Takuma Sato’s No. 51 Honda had its speed disallowed after he failed to get off the track by exiting on the pit entry lane instead of coming back around on the race course itself. IndyCar officials wiped away Sato’s time and he also had to requalify.

At the time qualifications were called, the top 12 drivers were VeeKay, O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Alex Palou, Tony Kanaan and Jimmie Johnson, Ed Carpenter, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean and Scott Dixon, Will Power and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.

All of those drivers will determine the pole beginning with the Fast 12 on Sunday. Out of that group, the fastest six will advance and the pole winner will be determined with a third and final four-lap qualification effort.

 

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